en el zaguán del infierno
Saturday, October 03, 2020
contemporáneos,casi tan viejos como yo, se deleitan en fotografiar puestas de
sol, eclipses lunares y solares, postes de teléfono, sus perros y sus gatos,
esta ciudad en donde viven, con sus pocos rascacielos de noche, y en muchos
casos alegan que las fotos las han tomado (sin filtro) con sus teléfonos “smart”.
A veces en esos pocos días de sol en nuestra lluviosa ciudad se atreven a
fotografiar rosas con sus objetivos macro. Después de varias rosas, para mí, se
ven todas iguales.
imagino estar obligado a ver en una sala obscura estas fotos ad infinitum.
lado no me canso de ver las hermosas caras de las tantas mujeres que me han
posado. Ésta se llama Susan y tiene una cara que parece ser de otro siglo. Hay en
ella una tristeza romántica (¿Existe ese término?).
Tomé la foto
con película Kodak Plus-X en mi Mamiya
RB-67 con un objetivo de 140mm. He escaneado el negativo con una hoja
semi-opaca de plástico para suavizar la imagen.
los escritores/poetas latinoamericanos mi favorito en lo que refiere en
describir a la mujer, está el uruguayo
¿Y si Dios fuera mujer?
pregunta Juan sin inmutarse,
vaya, vaya si Dios fuera mujer
es posible que agnósticos y ateos
no dijéramos no con la cabeza
y dijéramos sí con las entrañas.
Tal vez nos acercáramos a su divina desnudez
para besar sus pies no de bronce,
su pubis no de piedra,
sus pechos no de mármol,
sus labios no de yeso.
Si Dios fuera mujer la abrazaríamos
para arrancarla de su lontananza
y no habría que jurar
hasta que la muerte nos separe
ya que sería inmortal por antonomasia
y en vez de transmitirnos SIDA o pánico
nos contagiaría su inmortalidad.
Si Dios fuera mujer no se instalaría
lejana en el reino de los cielos,
sino que nos aguardaría en el zaguán del
con sus brazos no cerrados,
su rosa no de plástico
y su amor no de ángeles.
Ay Dios mío, Dios mío
si hasta siempre y desde siempre
fueras una mujer
qué lindo escándalo sería,
Friday, October 02, 2020
Olena, she of the formerly blue hair was born in Ukraine and
lived for many years in Colombia. A few years ago she settled down in Vancouver
with her Colombian doctor husband. I have been happily doing cooperative
photographic projects with her. I thought I had run the gamut. I thought we
Olena believes that we must continue, as human beings, to do
what we do without concern if it is important to others or not. She told me
that I had never photographed her outside in the woods. I mentioned that I had
a lack of interest in this as I had started taking figure photography in
beaches and in forests in the late 70 and early 80s. I could not possibly do
anything new. I was wrong.
|Summer Interior - Edward Hopper|
Then I saw Edward Hopper’s Summer Exterior and I was
suddenly inspired. I told Olena to bring a sheet. Her husband Alex (a very good
amateur photographer) offered to be my assistant. And so we had a successful session thanks to
Edward Hopper and Olena’s prodding.
Dana Andrews - The Ultimate Film Noir Actor
Thursday, October 01, 2020
Memories haunt me of the many times I have watched the film Laura and
detective Mark McPherson (played by the dashing-in-a-trench coat Dana Andrews)
and how he falls in love with the woman in the portrait of advertising executive Laura Hunt
(played by Gene Tierney) while investigating her murder. One evening he falls
asleep to find the murdered woman in the living room.
My Rosemary and I have been married 52 years and our
memories are pretty good. In my case I remember most of my boyhood in Buenos
Aires (born in 1942, left in 1954). It would seem that my parents were
innovators in their idea of educating their only son. They took me to a theater
in the round performance of Bertolt Brecht’s Galileo Galilei when I was 8.
And until I left for Mexico in 1954 I saw scads of films
that contained my mother’s favourite actors, Dana Andrews, Jean Tierney, Rex
Harrison, Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, Spencer Tracy, Dolores del Río, Henry
Fonda, Leslie Howard, Humphrey Bogart, Gary Cooper, Kirk Douglas, Burt
Lancaster, Frederick March, Orson Welles, Gregory Peck, and Richard Widmark.
How was I to know then that many of the films I saw on movie
row in Buenos Aires’s Calle Lavalle were film noirs? Only now would I tell Eddie
Muller that one of the finest film noirs has to be John Ford’s 1947 film The Fugitive based on a Graham Green
Novel (The Power and the Glory) with
Henry Fonda, Dolores del Ría AND that Mexican actor (noir personified) Pedro Armendáriz and with camera work by the
fabulous Gabriel Figueroa as cinematographer.
But there were two films that were dear to my mother’s
heart, Laura and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney). It was in
the latter film that as a boy I first discovered that dastardly villain George
I have seen The Best
Years of Our Lives so many times and every time I see it there is something
new that I notice (Teresa Wright is an a late example) that I have come to the
conclusion that no matter what anybody can say about Dana Andrews’s drinking
problem he is film noir, and principally because nobody can wear that trench
coat and a fedora like he does and there is that almost Gregory
Peck-taciturn-look on his face. His voice fits the man.
Once I can remember listening in my car a Beethoven
bagatelle so lovely that I parked my car and called the pianist of the
Vancouver Symphony to tell her about it. Linda Lee Thomas then said this,”Ah, to hear something for the first time.”
I have not seen this Saturday’s (Vancouver at 9PM on TCM)
film with the Laura pair, Where the
Ah to see something for the first time!
In Spring of 1986 I had the luck to be assigned by a
Vancouver publication to photograph Vincent Price. I had my camera and lights
in a corner during the press conference. He saw me and my lights. He came over
and sat down. I told him that one of my favourite films of all time was Laura
(he is in it) and another is the Fall of
the House of Usher (blood seeped through the walls!). He was gracious and
gave me ample time to snap his picture with my big camera.
Joanne Dahl - Yielding Flesh - Redux- & Again
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
|Joanne Dahl - Kodak Ektachrome 800 pushed to 1600|
The name Joanne Dahl is in my memory as a vague fog that in
spite of it all is somehow sharp one. I have no recollection on how I met
her. I do know that I photographed her
in 1990 because there are some slides (fast Ektachromes, ISO 800 pushed to 1600)
with that year stamped on them. At the time I was obsessed with the idea of
pushing Ektachrome do get strange colours and contrast. But I also photographed
her with b+w film on a Nikon FM-2 and with my medium format Mamiya RB- 67.
Another reason for the session was to experiment in not
using a studio flash. I was to shoot from the hip with my two Nikon FM-2
unhindered by a tripod. But I did use studio lights for the b+w Mamiya photographs.
|Kodak T-Max 3200 ISO - Nikon FM-2|
There are a few things that to come to mind. To begin with
it seems that I wrote about her many times here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
I have written here my firm opinion that shooting with
multiple cameras gives me more variety as opposed to previously using motor
driven film cameras or doing the same with a modern digital camera.
Most photographers who own digital cameras and particularly
those with Fuji cameras have the option of setting their cameras to imitate
film. I am not sure this is useful as one may think. If you are a young
photographer would you know of the results obtainable by pushing Ektachrome 800
Three of those slides here would not have been reproduced
well as hard copy back in 1990. There were not readily available scanners and
the reproduction materials available in photo labs could not bring out shadow
detail. The internegatives used to make prints from slides lost a bit on
sharpness. The Cibachrome direct from slide printing brought increased contrast
and the ultra glossy look for me was a turnoff. The only really good method (no
longer in use) was the expensive dye-transfer which was the darling of the
advertising industry. In the 30s and 40s photographer Paul Outerbridge
pioneered the colour-carbro which for the first time almost accurately
displayed the colour of human skin.
|Mamiya RB-67 Ilford FP-4|
So I look at these pictures in this blog and I realize a few
1. Joanne Dahl was amazingly beautiful.
2. My attempts at not using a studio flash were not a bad
idea and point on what I should be doing now.
3. Film and a good scanner are a good combination. And with
a good inkjet printer (I have a Canon Pro1) I can almost not feel a longing for
the darkrooms I had or used beginning in 1962.
Variation on a Single Theme With Multiple Cameras
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
|Caitlin Legault - Mamiya RB-67 Polaroid |
I own two Mamiya RB-67 medium format film cameras and two
very good identical 140mm lenses for them. I also have a third Mamiya.
For years I had the idea of taking portraits in which one
camera was shooting the profile while the other the face. The problem then was
that there was no way of shooting both cameras at the same time while connected
to a studio flash.
|Fuji X-E1 18 to 55 zoom|
The idea is still in my head but I soon learned a variation.
This entailed using more than one camera and, if only with one camera, increase
that idea of more than one by using multiple film backs (colour and black and
white) on the Mamiya plus shoot a Polaroid.
Variation on a single theme
Of course the resulting photographs were not of the exact
I found out that if you put all your birds in one basket and
shoot with one camera even if you shoot RAW with your digital no matter if you
make variations of that one shot b+w, colour, etc it still is the same one
|Mamiya RB-67 colour negative|
When my Rosemary and I went to Florence and Venice last year
I took four cameras. I had two panoramics, the Widelux and the Horizont. This
latter Russian version of the Japanese Widelux I loaded with Kodak B+W Infrared
Film. I have quite a few rolls in my fridge. This film if left in your luggage
will safely pass through repeated X-rays.
The other two cameras were a Fuji X-E3 and a Fuji X-E1 to
which I fitted a Lens Baby. This gave me the potential of a variation of four
for any situation I thought worth taking pictures of. I also enjoyed using my
Galaxy 5 phone in the art galleries.
As an example of this variety idea I have these three shots
of the extremely beautiful Caitlin Legault. One of the photos is a Polaroid b+w
for my Mamiya. The second one is colour negative on the Mamiya. The third on
what was then my brand new and first digital camera the Fuji X-E1. And I also
took b+w photographs with my Mamiya and with a Nikon FM-2
I have two Minolta flash metres. To make stuff a tad more
easy I used them both and set one to one ISO and the other to another ISO. But
I must remember what ISO is to what camera.